Now go enjoy the nice day.
In all seriousness, as I sat down to write about Oden I saw Dave had beat me to it, and really, he most of what there needed to be said. It doesn’t take a long essay to explain why Oden did, in fact, have a good rookie season, as I wrote about in January. You don’t have to listen to the national media — who didn’t watch this team every day — or Bill Simmons, who isn’t acknowledging that Oden is likely to shed his foul troubles, for multiple reasons, as he gets older because he has a man-crush on Kevin Durant and is smart enough to know that he gets more readers for making points like “He’s a bust, just look at these convenient stats from 1985.” That’s no knock on the media or Simmons, but you have to look deeper to figure out where popular perception comes from and why people might write certain things.
You, Blazer fans, know better. You’ve seen the flashes and have learned a little something about patience over the last 8 years. So that’s it, there’s nothing to do about Oden but let him put in his work and (hopefully) prove people wrong next year.
The one thing I do have to add to Dave’s analysis, from the perspective of someone who has watched Kendrick Perkins bully Dwight Howard in the post for the last week, is that Oden has actually shown just as much offensive prowess (albeit in brief flashes) on the block as Howard — who hasn’t learned that every time he tries the running hook on Perkins, he ends up shooting it 5 feet further out than when he started the move. And he’s complaining about Stan Van Gundy not getting him the ball in the fourth when he’s been clanking bad shots all game? Both Howard and Oden have what I like to call Pavlov’s Hook Shot right now, that move they keep going to over and over no matter how many times they miss. The difference is Howard has shrewdly marketed himself so that people gloss over this fact with him, but Greg gets the microscope treatment.